Challenge 10: Rowing Pogies

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Our new product will help rowers go from this:

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To this: 

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For Challenge 10, our team is attempting to reinvent the pogie. The pogie is essentially a mitten that is used by rowers during the winter season. While rowing in the freezing rain doesn’t sound like it should be an accepted practice, rowing coaches tend to disagree. Especially in the variable Boston conditions, the pogie is a rowing necessity. The mittens slip onto the oar, and then the rower places their hands into each pogie. This allows for them to maintain their hand-to-oar grip, while also surrounding their hands in warmth.

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We surveyed members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Heavyweight and Lightweight rowing teams to determine the main problems with pogies. The major issues that appeared to be brought up were: the pogies usually only had waterproof material on the top or no waterproof material at all, the inside hand was awkward to put on and remove easily, and the look of the pogies did not go well with the rest of the rowing kit. Most rowers try their best to avoid wearing the pogies during races, due to the fear of the dreaded rowing photographers catching them with the pogies.

The main problem with the pogies is that it is very inconvenient to slide in and out of it. Improving convenience of users when using the pogies is our main goal. To elaborate, while using the pogies, we noticed that is is very awkward to get your hands in and out of the pogies. The cuffs are tight, so that the warmth stays in the pogie, but this results in clumsy and frustrating attempts to use the pogies.

In addition, another problem is the un-polished design of the pogies. The gear that a rower wears demonstrates their status in many ways. A rower will constantly wear their national team gear if they have gone to World Championships; they will wear the betting shirts of teams they have beaten around campus. When going out to race, a rower takes pride in the uniform they wear; this includes everything from the lucky socks to the Oakley radars. Therefore, the idea that the pogie has not been designed to aesthetically compete with the rower’s other accessories. The outfit that a rower wears is a method of intimidating the competition. Adding aestheticity to the pogies is an approach to bring desirability to the design of pogies.

Here is our design:

To solve the problem of the awkwardness of sliding the pogies in and out of them, we plan to add an “automated” system to the pogies so that it is usually open but will close when the users need to. There will be a slit on the pogies so that the oar will slide in and out of the slit, and the users do not have to slide in and out of the narrow cuffs of the pogies. An idea to implement this design is using magnets as the automated attachment mechanism. The momentum of the hand movements will bring the magnets together and make them attach to each other, whereby closes the pogies. When they users want to pull their hands away, they just easily slide out.

To make the design of the pogies fit in well with the overall clothing and accessories worn while rowing, we looked to the current trends for inspiration. Additionally, we used fleece on the inside of the pogies and then covered the fleece in waterproof fabric. The pogies are made of recycled fleece and a recycled rain jacket, which makes this product sustainable. This helps to address the unfortunate occurrence of getting splashed with water while it’s cold and windy outside. We designed the pogies to match the aesthetic of the Harvard-Radcliffe rowing team. The inclusion of the team logo helps to increase a sense of exclusivity; only the members of the Radcliffe rowing team would have access to this gear. Rowing fashion is a mix of modern trends and vintage ones. The pogie on the left exhibits a more modern take on the style. The sweeping white shape at the top demonstrate a streamlined, aerodynamic speed. A design such as this can be seen at events like the Summer Olympics in 2016 [1]. The logo on the right pogie is the modern logo, which recently replaced the solo Radcliffe shield. The pogie on the right highlights the more traditional fashion trends, which are seen in the Henley blazers worn at the Henley Royal Regatta. This event is seen as the peak of traditional rowing fashion [2].

Great Britain Straight Four, 2016 Summer Olympics

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Royal Henley Regatta Fashion:

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[1] http://beta.bbc.com/sport/0/olympics/19163949

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/fashion-blog/2014/jul/04/henley-royal-regatta-secrets-rowing-blazer

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